Heatherington patent

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. Here's the infamous patent <http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT4549302>
    issued to Hayes the modem maker in 1985. Remember when modems had to
    be "Hayes-compatible"? A crucial part of that was the way, after a data
    connection was established, that you switched the modem back to command
    mode. The Hayes method was a 1-second pause, then the entry of "+++" (3
    plus characters), then another 1-second pause. The patent that Hayes held
    was on that pause; and nobody could make their modems fully
    Hayes-compatible without licensing this patent.

    Without the pause, any sequence of 3 plus signs that happened to occur in
    the transmitted data could cause the modem to switch back to command mode
    when you didn't want it to--in short, to behave strangely. Thus, other
    modem vendors had no choice but to license the patent--no one was able to
    come up with another way of escaping to command mode that worked nearly as
    well. As I recall, there were two separate court cases launched to overturn
    the patent, but it was upheld in both of them.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 24, 2006
    #1
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